Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Aug 29, 2009 10:11 AM

Cake in a half-sheet pan: leave it in the pan, or take it out?

For my son's birthday party tomorrow, I just baked a cake in a half-sheet pan, which I've never done before. I was planning to take it out of the pan to cool and frost, but now that I'm about to do it the logistics seem a bit nutty. My cooling racks are too narrow for the pan, so I'd have to use two of them, which makes the flipping out of the pan part quite perilous.

When you bake a half-sheet cake, do you frost it in the pan or out? If out, how on earth do you get it out without the cake breaking? Thanks.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. It is easy to remove a cake from a sheet pan if you use parchment liner, but you might be SOL if you didn't. I tend to depan them as soon as they are cool because baking in a sheet pan usually means that I am planning to roll it for the final product.

    You can leave it in the pan and frost it as it is if you are planning to serve it in squares.

    1. are you afraid your cake is going to stick when you try flipping it out of the sheet pan? didn't you butter the pan first?

      unless your cake is perilously soft, i suggest flipping it onto something flat so to slide it onto the cooling racks. utilizing 2 shouldn't be a problem as long as there isn't a giant gap someplace. get it off that hot baking pan. asap.

      as far as frosting it, place it on your serving plate, stick wax paper strips under the edges and frost.

      1. I wouldn't bother trying to take it out of the pan. I would frost it in the pan while still warm. That way, the warm cake does all the work, spreading the frosting all over the cake. Then, just cut into squares and serve.

        1. Thanks, everyone. I did get it out, and all's well. (And I hadn't used parchment, just cooking spray.)

          1. Whether you remove it or not depends on how you want it to look for presentation. Presuming your son is not going to be picky about whether his cake was served on a platter or not, I would just leave it in the pan and frost it once cooled. Cookingschool suggests frosting while warm, and this could work, depending on the kind of frosting you're using, and how warm the cake is...

            8 Replies
            1. re: Full tummy

              One really does need to wait for a cake to cool before icing regardless of the icing type. Take buttercream for example as a comming icing example. if you try to ice while warm not only will the icing melt, but if the cake is out of the pan the whole lot of icing that makes it can land all along the bottom of the cake after sliding off. And you can't cut a cake to layer unless it is entirely warm.

              1. re: Allice98

                If you didn't use parchment paper, I would keep it in the pan. I usually like to take it out though. Maybe your son would like to decorate it himself with m&m's or something?

                1. re: Allice98

                  professional bakers often semi-freeze cakes before frosting to reduce crumbs in the appearance of the final product. a light base coat of frosting, back in the freezer, then a final layer

                  i have never heard of finishing cakes while still warm -- it will completely compromise the frosting.

                  1. re: Allice98

                    Sometimes glaze type icings are fine to go on when the cake is still warm, if you want them to soak into the top layer of the cake.

                    Did you mean to say "entirely cool" in your last sentence? I made a layer cake yesterday and cut it into layers once cooled.

                    1. re: Full tummy

                      Texas sheet cake--you pour warm frosting on a hot cake and get a nice smooth glaze. But that's the only one I can think of where you wouldn't let the cake cool completely. I can't imagine frosting another cake unless it was completely cool. It would be like covering it before it cooled off, condensation.

                      1. re: chowser

                        glaze is way different than icing or frosting and not something i imagined on a little kid's birthday cake, lol!

                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                          Hey, guys, I was only responding to cookingschool's suggestion, and trying to be open-minded....hahaha

                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                            The frosting on Texas sheet cake isn't glaze--poor word choice on my part. It's heated butter, confectioners sugar, cocoa powder, milk and poured over the cake and cools to a sheen of chocolate frosting. I did make it for a kids cake--he loves trucks so I used the cake as the road. Piped lines for the street lines, cut a pound cake into the shape of a truck and frosted. Crushed oreos for dirt. Way too much work. The whole time I thought to myself, "Why did I think this was a good idea?!?!?"